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Brightening up Brighton:Graduate Artist Unveils Colourful Installation

A new local artist’s installation celebrating the most-used apps that kept us connected during the pandemic has been unveiled at Hanningtons, in the heart of Brighton’s iconic Lanes.

23 year old Zhenni Zhang, a MA Sequential Design/illustration University of Brighton graduate, is the latest artist to be chosen to exhibit her colourful work, to ‘brighten up’ a former empty unit in the city centre, under a pilot scheme.

For her installation, Zhenni researched the top ten most used apps in the world during the Covid 19 pandemic – apps which connected people and offered escapism during challenging times – extracting the main colours and usage features of each app and creating illustrations inspired by them. Zhenni’s installation is influenced by Brighton’s colourful street art, depicted in her bold pop style drawings.

This was the first opportunity the masters graduate has been presented to fully bring to life her proposed vision for the artwork installation – from idea, through to delivery.

“This was the first time I had gone through the whole installation myself, having previously participated in exhibitions where I only had to submit my work. I enjoyed the process, especially when I saw a mother and son passing by and taking a picture under my installation, it gave me a great sense of satisfaction with how much they liked my work. Thank you again to Brilliant Brighton and Brighton & Hove City Council for giving me the opportunity to showcase my artwork! I hope my design gives the area and people who pass by a sense of happiness.”

Zhenni is one of five artists commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council in a partnership pilot project with Brilliant Brighton (a not-for-profit organisation, formed of 517 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses within the city centre) to ‘brighten up’ empty premises in the city centre.

This is the third window installation on Market Street, within Redevco’s Hanningtons Estate, unveiled under the pilot scheme.

Councillor Martin Osborne, co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “I love the concept of the newest council commissioned empty shop front art commission.

“Technology has played a big part over the last year and a half, allowing us all to keep up with loved ones and access vital services in the most isolating times we’ve experienced. So drawing inspiration from the most used phone apps in the pandemic is so clever and I can’t wait to get down and see it.

“I have to say – this project of commissioning artists to brighten up empty shopfronts in the city centre is one of my favourites, as well as making the city centre more beautiful it has provided new opportunities for talented up and coming local artists like Zhenni to showcase their skills.”

Shelley Welti, Marketing and Events Manager for Brilliant Brighton said: “Zhenni’s illustrations add a bright pop of colour to the former empty premises, and celebrate the happiness that many apps gave us to connect during the dark days of the pandemic. We hope that residents and visitors alike will enjoy viewing the artwork, in place until the end of August.”

Sarah Lulham, Asset Manager of Redevco adds: “Congratulations to Zhenni for a topical, colourful and inspiring installation. We have been delighted with the quality of work by the three artists exhibiting at Hanningtons and are grateful to Shelley and the team for brightening up this corner of our Estate for visitors. Our new website is live and has details of all the pop ups at Hanningtons this summer as well as our usual retailers, restaurants and cafes:

Over 80 local artists submitted proposals to the ‘Brightening Up Brighton’ brief, showing the level of creativity within the city. Five artists have been commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council – subject to property availability, to add interest to empty properties.

To find out more please visit:

Photography by Sarah London Photography